Military divorces differ from standard family law cases when it comes to residence requirements for filing, obtaining process service on an active duty spouse, compliance with military rules and regulations, and the division of a military pension.
In order for a court to have jurisdiction over the military divorce case, it’s necessary to personally serve the active duty member with a summons and petition for dissolution of marriage.
If the service member in question is overseas or deployed, the serving process can be extremely difficult.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
If the service member in question is overseas or deployed, the serving process can be extremely difficult, as it is governed by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This law dictates that service members can’t be held fully responsible for not responding to a divorce application, but it doesn’t allow the military spouse to neglect the divorce papers.
If the service member doesn’t consent, the court can appoint an active duty, reserve, or even civilian natural person as an officer of the court to serve the papers. However, service aboard any ship or shore base violates military regulations, and service in the territorial jurisdiction of other foreign nations could violate the Hague Convention.
According to the Hague Convention, it is preferable to serve the summons and petition abroad by mailing the documents to the “central authority,” who will then service the active duty member under that jurisdiction. Over 30 countries are parties to the Hague Convention, and this is sufficient under most states’ law.
Federal Laws for California Military Divorce
Federal regulations have recently been changed to make process serving easier on military couples with children when the military spouse is stationed overseas. Regardless of the spouse’s active duty location, federal agencies and uniformed service members shall be responsible for facilitating the legal process.
While California divorce laws may differ from other states’ rules and regulations, the federal government has enacted legislation (The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act) to govern the calculation and division of military pension benefits. Military divorces are treated differently depending on the active duty location of the military spouse, but the process itself is just as delicate as a standard California divorce case.
Bohm Wildish & Matsen Can Make a Complicated Process Easier to Understand
Military divorces have different rules and regulations than a standard California divorce, and the team at Bohm Wildish & Matsen understands that requires increased preparation for the restrictions ahead. Give Bohm Wildish & Matsen a call to see how they can help lead you through the emotional and financial difficulties of a military divorce.